It’s a visual world. Tell your story with Pinterest.

It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of telling your nonprofit’s story with numbers. While it is important to track your results to be accountable to donors and grantors, it’s also equally essential that you learn how to share your impact using more relational strategies.

Storytelling has been a huge buzz word as of late, but as we all know, not everyone can weave together a story like Bill Shakespeare. However, we can all gather images that help to tell our story in a way that touches people and most importantly, demands their attention.

You’ve likely heard about Pinterest. Or perhaps you have several boards. Maybe you are even a full-fledged addict already. This latest social media darling hit 100 million unique visitors per month in March. In fact, according to Compete, unique visitors to the site increased by 429% from September through December 2011. And the platform already boasts 3.3 million users.

Charity: Water on Pinterest

So what is Pinterest? Simply put, Pinterest is a visual social media bulletin board that allows users to share and discover interests visually by “pinning” images to their board, and “re-pinning” images their Pinterest friends have shared. It is a source of inspiration. A creative community. Candy for the eye and fuel for the creative soul. And just plain fun.

Our friends at Mashable have put together some tips on how a nonprofit can use the power of Pinterest to tell their story. Here are a few tips we can definitely agree with:

  • Reveal Yourself: Give your followers a look at your non-profit from behind the scenes. Pin images that show staff and volunteers working with your organization, as well as those who benefit from that work. It’s a good idea to show supporters the human faces behind your logo.
  • Re-Pin/Highlight Other Nonprofits: Like all forms of social media, Pinterest isn’t a place to over-promote. Avoid this is by mixing original pinning with repins of images from other non-profits within your sphere of influence. Users receive an email notification when their images are repinned and they are credited on your repin, which can increase their following. The non-profit you repin may return the favor, allowing Pinterest to become a channel for valuable, non-disruptive cross-promotion.
  • Add Pinterest to your Website/Project Pages: This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked with new networks. You can add various Pinterest “goodies” (a “pin it” button, follow button, logos, etc.) not only to your homepage, but also to project pages for more exposure.
  • Pin Videos: Videos aren’t very common on Pinterest, but they’re on the rise. YouTube videos are especially easy to add, and Pinterest even has a special section for pinned videos.
  • Be Inviting: Pinning can sometimes seem like an individualized, solitary action, but it’s important to interact with others and keep community in mind. For non-profits, Pinterest is more than just posting interesting visuals — if used properly, it can be an extension of your organization and, when applicable, a support system.

Of course, the best way to design a Pinterest strategy that works for your organization is to take a look at how others are embracing the platform. Check out Charity: Water, The SanFransisco Ballet and Operation Smile.

But watch out, Pinterest, like other popular social media sites, can suck you in like a black hole. Set limits on your social media time. And as always, before jumping on another social media “craze,” make sure it makes sense for your organization.

For practical information on how to get started with Pinterest, check out this article by USA Today.

How have you used Pinterest either professionally or personally?




* Thanks to Matt Petronzio over at Mashable, for your excellent insights referenced above.

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